Why did the Minority take the view that both Sun Ho and Kong Hee had obtained benefits from the misappropriated funds, that the appellants did not act in the best interests of CHC, that CHC had suffered permanent financial loss, and that little weight (if any) should be given to the fact of “full restitution”? What are the practical implications of this case on how churches and charities should deal with donations? We will consider all these questions, and more, in Episode 3.
In Episode 2, we will try to understand why the sentences became lighter than what was initially given by the Judge.
The City Harvest Church appeal decision was released by the High Court on 7 April 2017. In a rare split decision, two out of the three appeal judges (the “Majority”) significantly reduced the sentences of Pastor Kong Hee and 5 others. Before one is able to form a balanced view or to comment fairly on the decision, one should seek to understand the High Court’s grounds of decision. However, the detailed grounds of decision were a massive 298 pages long. Most people will never read it, let alone in full. In Episode 1 of this blog post, I will attempt to summarize the complex facts of the City Harvest case and to explain the grounds for the Majority’s decision to largely dismiss the appeals against conviction, before moving on in the next post (Episode 2) to explain why the Majority reduced the charges to a less serious form of criminal breach of trust and their decision to reduce the sentences, and then analyzing in a final post (Episode 3) the illuminating views of the dissenting judge (the “Minority”), and to set out the practical implications of this case for various people and organizations.